Southeast from Eugene, the Willamette River leaves its wide valley and is immediately impounded into reservoirs. By the time it reaches Oakridge, the Willamette is restored to a rushing mountain river, and Hwy 58 climbs steadily up the Cascade Range's densely forested western slope.
At the Cascade crest, near Willamette Pass, are some beautiful lakes and wilderness areas, and Oregon's second-highest waterfall, 286ft Salt Creek Falls. There's good hiking here, and in winter the area is popular for downhill and cross-country skiing. Along the way, you can soak in warm waters at undeveloped McCredie Hot Springs; it's close to the road and clothing-optional. The unpaved turnout is just past Blue Pool Campground, about 50 miles east of Eugene.